Los Angeles Times

Ring Posts: Raw misses the mark with stagnant storylines

Triple H has a broken arm. Brock Lesnar has quit WWE. Big Show has done nothing of significance since losing the Intercontinental Championship.

For some reason, these three men were given a large chunk of time on tonight's edition of Raw, despite this being the go-home show for the Over the Limit pay-per-view, only six days away.

Triple H opened the show addressing his issues with Lesnar, saying that the former UFC champion has offended every man who has ever stepped into a WWE ring with his actions.

When the times got tough eight years ago, Lesnar bailed for UFC. When the same thing happened there, he bailed again and came crawling back to WWE. The difference? Diverticulitis.

But Triple H's words brought out Paul Heyman and a lawyer, which was odd being that last week, Heyman himself seemed to be established as Lesnar's legal representation.

Heyman knocked it out of the park on the microphone, explaining that Lesnar entered a verbal contract with General Manager John Laurinaitis, and since the terms of that agreement haven't been upheld, Lesnar would be suing WWE.

Hunter, quick to anger, grabbed Heyman, which evoked threats of a second lawsuit, this one directed at Triple H for assault and battery.

Later in the show, at the top of the first hour, Big Show was forced into a match with Kane by Laurinaitis, further punishment for mocking the boss' voice on last week's Raw.

The match itself was nothing special and was followed by Laurinatis adding insult to injury, forcing Show to get on his knees and apologize. Show, hesitant at first, eventually conceded and did as the general manager requested.

Not even that would be enough, though, as Laurinaitis fired Show on the spot.

If the situation is really Show's swan song in WWE, one has to feel bad for the big man. Getting embarrassed on the way out the door is nothing new in the industry, but he could have had a better built departure.

More than likely, though, this will just fuel an upcoming angle, which would feed into the same inherent problems with the show-opening segment.

Yes, Heyman and Triple H killed it on the mic. Big Show and Laurinaitis were serviceable. But why? What did these segments do to make me want to order Sunday's Over the Limit any more than I already did?

Fans have long clamored for stories to have more build, and that's exactly what WWE seems to be going for here, but the go-home show to a pay-per-view is not the best time do so.

It's almost as if WWE is sending a message to fans that says, "Don't worry about our show this weekend; one with a bigger match is coming later." And with the fact this pay-per-view features CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, I wouldn't be surprised if some in the company truly feel that way.

I'm all for slow-burn builds, but with only five announced matches on the pay-per-view (and one on the pre-show), that time could have been used to build to other matches, rather than just adding random squashes like at Extreme Rules.

Over the Limit may be a secondary pay-per-view, but it would be nice if WWE would at least attempt to make it look otherwise.


Quick Hits


  • If Laurinaitis ever gets canned himself, he has a career waiting as a comedian, as he informed the crowd that he's better than The Rock and Lesnar combined, and he'll prove it to John Cena on Sunday. Of course, the Cena that emerged to confront Laurinaitis wasn’t the great angry Cena we’ve seen re-emerge in recent weeks, but rather the goofy, attempting-to-be-funny-but-failing-miserably Cena.


Eve brought out a letter for the two from the Board of Directors with the stipulations for their match on Sunday. The match will be contested under normal rules, any superstar who gets involved will be immediately fired and if Laurinaitis loses, he will be fired. If this match headlines the pay-per-view, it will be a cringe-worthy decision, though possibly not as bad as this segment.


  • Comedy has a place and time in professional wrestling. In the middle of a match involving the WWE champion his opponent for a pay-per-view coming up in six days is neither the time nor the place. Yet, that's exactly what happened on tonight's Raw, as United States Champion Santino Marella teamed with CM Punk to defeat Daniel Bryan and Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes.


The match itself, aside from Marella's few comedy spots, was well worked and entertaining. It also featured good storytelling as Punk and Bryan were kept separated in advance of their title match at Over the Limit. Just wish the comedy had been omitted and left wondering if the involvement of the two midcard champions will lead to anything.


  • How many possible pairings of the four men in Sunday's Over the Limit World Heavyweight Championship match can end with dirty finishes? Tonight, Sheamus interfered in the main event, attacking Chris Jericho and giving him the disqualification victory. It's understandable they want to keep all four men looking strong, but this is just getting out of hand, and it doesn't seem like it will be any different on Smackdown, when Orton and Sheamus face off.


  • Brodus Clay's journey took a slight detour this week, as he competed in a six-man  match alongside Tag Team Champions R-Truth and Kofi Kingston facing The Miz, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. The match was good, but short, and unsurprisingly ended with Clay pinning The Miz. That's twice in two weeks Miz has been pinned by Clay.


  • Beth Phoenix squashed Alicia Fox en route to her Divas Championship match on Sunday. There wasn't much to the match, but after it ended, Phoenix continued to beat down Fox until Layla made the save. It's nice and refreshing to see the Divas Championship featured in an angle, albeit a short and simple one.


  • It was announced that Zack Ryder will have his shot at retribution against Kane, who injured him and put him in a wheelchair several months ago. The match will happen on the YouTube pre-show before the pay-per-view. Sorry, Zack.


Match Rundown


CM Punk and Santino Marella d. Daniel Bryan and Cody Rhodes

Beth Phoenix d. Alicia Fox

Kane d. Big Show

Brodus Clay, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston d. The Miz, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler

Chris Jericho d. Randy Orton by disqualification


My Take


WWE has been dropping the ball with the go-home shows to recent pay-per-views. Maybe it shows the company actually treats many of these events as “B” shows, or maybe it’s an indication that even 12 or 13 pay-per-views are too many for a year. Tonight’s Raw featured only five matches, and none of them really went too long. Much of the remaining promo time went to storylines and angles without ramifications on Sunday’s show, which makes the decision-making even more baffling. Over the Limit has potential to have some quality in-ring action, but WWE hasn’t given fans many reasons to care about the show and order the PPV.


Ring Posts’ Adam Testa has teamed up with My 1-2-3Cent (www.my123cents.com) and All American Pro (www.aapwrestling.com) to bring you "From the Rafters Radio," (www.facebook.com/RaftersRadio)  a weekly pro wrestling talk radio show airing on Monster Radio 1150 AM in Southern Illinois and streaming worldwide on wggh.net (www.wggh.net).

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